The Great Gatsby (2013) Movie Review

The Great Gatsby is a 2013 film adaptation of the classic 1920s novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is narrated by Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) as he writes a novel portraying the events that happened in those months he spent in New York City with Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), and his cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). The movie has an over the top feel which not only fits the novel (which is over the top in itself) but gives the film plenty of energy. The parties are loud and have gorgeous set design as well as costume design that fits the 20s.

Although, there’s one aspect of the film that was risky but in my opinion pays off. It decides to use a more modern soundtrack filled with artists like Jay-Z, Lana Del Ray, amongst others. It is usually mixed with jazz instrumentals and I think it works perfectly. It gives the film a great flair and style. And if anything, the hip-hop culture reflects the 1920s culture in multiple ways. Gatsby throws these huge parties to get the attention of Daisy and is trying to revive old love from the past. This leads to events that only end badly. But, I won’t go any further, although, I’m sure most people have at least read the novel in school (and if you haven’t, I recommend reading it before watching the film, because it’s a fantastic novel).

CGI is excessively used in the film. Normally, I wouldn’t enjoy this but it provides for beautiful cinematography and looking at it in a more artistic sense, it represents the disillusionment/fakeness of the 1920s American culture. The movie also pulls multiple direct quotes from the novel and you can definitely tell that sometimes, “this obviously came from the book,” but it’s also a matter of that you can’t leave some of them out. They are too important. The movie also manages to carry over the symbolism of the book very tastefully with the green light and Dr. T.J. Eckleberg used to perfection.

The performances in the movie are what really shine in this adaptation. Tobey Maguire is perfect as Nick Carraway. DiCaprio was always meant to play this role and did just as good as I wanted him to be. Edgerton carried the role of Tom and I think emphasized his character even better. Carey Mulligan (who on my first viewing of the film, I was lukewarm about, but on this viewing I feel differently), isn’t necessarily perfect but she still does a sufficient enough job to the point were I have little to complain about. I have very little to complain about in general.

My only slight complainant is the first 10-15 minutes are edited somewhat strangely, very fast cutting that only seem to appear in that very beginning. It doesn’t wholly bother me but it was a bit off, it’s quickly fixed though. Regardless, I’m doubtful it’d be possible to get a much better adaptation then this one and I have my doubts that someone could possibly be better than DiCaprio in the role of Gatsby.

4.5/5 stars.


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